Thought Particle Technology has Arrived
I consider Pandora.com to be the first commercial application of Thought Particle technology. Have you allowed Pandora to read your mind yet?
Pandora.com is a streaming music service crafted by a couple of hundred really serious music experts whose ideas about music are much bigger and more divergent than the mere idea of “format” or “genre.” Tell Pandora what songs you like and she'll soon figure out what all those songs have in common that you never realized. Pandora also learns from the songs you tell her you don't like.
I fed Pandora everything from James Taylor and Jimmy Buffett to the blistering rage of Bone Thugs and System of a Down. I even admitted a fondness for certain songs of Janice Ian and Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole.
Pandora says I tend to like songs with a subtle blues or country influence, Likewise, I'm a sucker for paired harmony, a syncopated rhythm, interesting part writing and strong melodies. And that's just a few of the characteristics my songs tend to have in common. But you've got to tell her what you like.
The benefit of all this back-and-forth interaction with Pandora is that she will soon begin playing songs you never knew existed, songs that make you say, “Wow! This is the coolest music I've ever heard in my life!” Even as I write this, I've got Pandora playing through my laptop. A moment ago I heard, I Concentrate on You, by Steve Tyrell. Never heard it before in my life. Loved it. Right now Pandora is playing It's Alright by Big Head Todd & The Monsters. Who the heck is Big Head Todd?
Pretty soon Pandora will change the tempo and take me in another of my favorite directions. Wow. What a coincidence. Just as I typed “another of my favorite directions,” the mellow mumblings of Big Head Todd segued into the bee-sting guitars of Ten Years After playing another song I've never heard in my life, When It All Falls Down.
Click the image that appears on your monitor while a song is playing and Pandora will let you give it a Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down. She'll link you to iTunes to buy the mp3 or to Amazon to buy the CD. She'll even explain why she chose that song for you.
Yes, Pandora has leaped light-years beyond Amazon's suggestion of “People who bought this CD also bought…..”
No, I'm not making a penny off any of this. I'm suggesting that you meet Pandora for your benefit, not hers.
You need her a lot more than she needs you.
Next week I'll tell you about a few other soon-to-be-released technologies built on Thought Particles, the simple but practical application of a bizarre pattern-recognition system that is easily encoded into software to create powerfully convincing artificial intelligences.
The day of Thought Particles has arrived.
Roy H. Williams
PS – Our long shot hit the bullseye! The incomparable David Freeman will, in fact, be flying in from Hollywood to join us as an instructor at Wizard Academy's First Annual Writer's Conference on April 22. David teaches a step-by-step technique that will allow you to create richly textured, complex characters in fiction. You'll learn the same technique he taught to many of the emerging screenwriters whose movies you're now seeing in theaters. Sexton, Maddock, Freeman! If you want to expand your skill as a writer of fiction, non-fiction or advertising, be here.
Become a better writer, then party under the stars. Following a fabulous dinner that evening we'll have the release party of the wonderful new book, People Stories: Inside the Outside, Conversations Overheard in the Middle of the Night on the Wrong Side of Town. All 143 authors of that book have been invited to be our guests at the Writer's Conference and every conference attendee will be given a copy of People Stories. I expect about half the authors will be able to come. How many signatures will you be able to get in your copy of the book?
This will also be the unveiling party for Wedding Chapel Dulcinea wine, as well as the grand opening of the Wizard Academy Press Bookstore and Giftshop on the campus of Wizard Academy. It's gonna be an amazing, fun-filled day. You coming?